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‘More theatrics to come in Sri Lanka’ – The Economist

As Mahinda Rajapaksa and Maithripala Sirisena continue to whip up nationalist Sinhala Buddhist sentiment, there “may be more theatrics to come” in Sri Lanka, warned The Economist on Tuesday.

Stating it was “reassuring to see democracy prevail”, it praised the curbing of Sirisena’s attempt to “expand executive power”, adding that it was for many, “satisfying to watch the lushly mustachioed former strongman, Mahinda Rajapaksa, exit the stage with a scowl”.

“Yet as every Sri Lankan knows, the events of the past few weeks represent only one act in a much longer play,” The Economist added. “The island of 22m remains riven with bitter divisions, economically precarious and dangerously prone to high-pitched populism. With presidential, legislative and provincial elections all due within the next two years, the current intermission will not last long.”

“But judging from backstage whispers, the next acts of the play could still be ugly. Mr Sirisena, who is now supposed to work with Mr Wickremesinghe, has accused him of wanting to “punish the servicemen who saved Sri Lanka and protect the Tamil fighters who tried to destroy it”. Mr Rajapaksa in his resignation speech rapped his rivals as “anti-national” traitors. Henchmen blame outside meddling for their ouster, telling supporters that “certain foreign nations” siphoned millions of dollars to NGOs that interfered with national security.”

“Sri Lankans are used to loud, nasty politics, but this kind of talk does not fit a plot with a happy ending.”

See more from The Economist here.